Pastor Troy By Choice Or By Force

Thunder claps, an automatic gun erupts and Pastor Troy targets Lil Jon and everyone on his BME record label with "Murda Man 2,” the first track from his ninth album. Nice move. Dispense with the appetiser and dish out the main course. Too bad his best jabs are phantom punches: "I eat ’em up like some mothafucking dog food” or telling BME artist Lil’ Scrappy to give him a blowjob. Lyrics have never been a strong point of crunk. It’s the vulgar, pelvic-thrusting beats that bang first, corny catch phrases later. Pastor picks his beats well — skulking poorly named ditties such as "I’m the Shark in the Water” and the token ode to hood tragedy, "Crossroads,” feel as cold as the steel of the gats he mentions so often. But for a guy who hates Lil Jon, he says "yeah” way too much. By Choice Or By Force features some ferocious, larynx-shredding but forgettable verses and "Drop That Ass” is perfect for those rides to and from the stripclub. "Pop A Few Bottles” is a brainless club track, but "Down For Life” sports a 2Pac-like beat with a soulful sing-along hook. Never classic, it’s crunk enough to have die-hard purists tearing the club up. (Koch)